Lions sign Matthew Stafford to six-year, $78 million deal

Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com reports that the Detroit Lions have signed quarterback Matthew Stafford to a six-year, $78 million contract and will select him with the top overall pick in Saturday’s draft. The deal also includes $41.8 million in guaranteed money.

Some scouts and draft pundits don’t feel as though Stafford is a franchise-type quarterback and they might be right. If he were to come out next year, there’s a good chance he would be the third or fourth best quarterback prospect behind Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and/or Tim Tebow.

But the bottom line is that if new GM Martin Mayhew believes that Stafford can lead his team, then he had to take him. The money is ridiculous, but unfortunately that’s the way the rookie salary structure is currently set up. In the end, Mayhew couldn’t be scared off by the contract demands if he felt that Stafford turn the Lions into a winner.

For fans sake, let’s hope this was a football decision above all else, and not an opportunity for William Clay Ford Sr. to sell jerseys, hats and tickets. Hopefully Ford allowed Mayhew to get the player that he wanted or else this is going to be the Matt Millen era all over again. (Okay, well maybe it won’t be that bad, but you get the point.)

Time will only tell if the Lions made the right choice in Stafford. Obviously there are no sure things in the draft, but maybe he can follow in the footsteps of ’08 first round quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. Stafford certainly has the arm strength to make all the passes at the next level and appears to have a good head on his shoulders. The Lions needed a quarterback and they got one.

Hopefully Mayhew got the right one.

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Peter King: Stafford is a lock to be a Lion

Matthew StaffordAccording to SI.com’s Peter King, quarterback prospect Matthew Stafford is a lock to become a Detroit Lion.

Busy night. Very busy night, as the Lions and agents for Matthew Stafford moved closer to a deal to make the Georgia quarterback the first pick in Saturday’s NFL’s draft.

I think the financial parameters of a deal will be done in principal by late this afternoon, though it may not be signed for a while because of its complexity. But you can take it to the bank: Stafford’s going to be a Detroit Lion.

Although I wouldn’t rule Aaron Curry out until Roger Goodell reads Stafford’s name for the Lions’ pick Saturday afternoon, Peter King is usually spot on. He has a great relationship with NFL players and front office personnel and I trust his judgment.

Sorry Lions fans.

Or…

Congratulations Lions fans – you (possibly) have your quarterback!

Report: Lions in final negotiations with quarterback Matthew Stafford

According to NFL.com, the Detroit Lions are in final negotiations with quarterback Matthew Stafford to become the No. 1 player taken in this weekend’s draft.

The Lions are in negotiations to finalize a contract with Georgia QB Matthew Stafford, who would be the No. 1 overall draft pick Saturday.

An accord could be reached as soon as Wednesday night.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said the team hoped to have a contract completed for the top selection — without naming him — during a pre-draft news conference Tuesday.

Lions officials have been negotiating with Tom Condon and Ben Dogra, who not only represent Stafford but also Baylor OT Jason Smith. Smith is believed to be the Lions’ second option should a deal with Stafford not materialize.

Should Stafford and the Lions agree to terms, the quarterback is expected to initially work behind veteran Daunte Culpepper, who impressed coaches at a recent minicamp. Stafford could receive the opportunity to compete for the starting job, which some NFL coaches and scouts said he could handle following private workouts and interviews.

Nothing is final yet, but if it does happen, this news won’t sit well with some Lions fans. But the bottom line is that Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton aren’t the answer. In fact, they’re not even close to being the answer and while Stafford isn’t the best quarterback prospect to come out of the collegiate ranks, there’s no denying that he has a good head on his shoulders and he’s got enough arm strength to make all of the throws at the next level.

Detroit has a ton of holes and GM Martin Mayhew will do his best to fill them as soon as possible. But it’s extremely hard to win in the NFL without a quality quarterback and if Mayhew truly believes that Stafford can lead the Lions for years to come, then it’s a good pick. Granted, that doesn’t mean that he will succeed, but Lion fans must now trust in Mayhew’s scouting and judgment.

4/22 Update: Lions’ beat writer Tom Kowalski is reporting that the Lions have a contract in place for linebacker Aaron Curry, but they’re in wait-and-see mode with Matthew Stafford.

Personally, I think that’s ridiculous. If the Lions aren’t completely sold on Stafford, then why take him? Why invest so much money on the most important position on your roster if you’re not 100% convinced that he can be the guy? This isn’t like deciding between an offensive tackle and a defensive end – you’re deciding on a freaking quarterback.

Is Matt Millen still hanging around Allen Park?

Lions still planning on signing No. 1 pick before draft

The Detroit Lions fully plan on signing the No. 1 pick before the NFL draft kicks off on Saturday. Who that No. 1 pick will be is the question.

Martin MayhewGeneral manager Martin Mayhew said today the Lions are “moving forward on getting something done” and there is a “very good” chance they will sign the No. 1 overall pick before the NFL draft starts Saturday.

“That was our plan,” Mayhew said at his pre-draft news conference. “We talked about that back at the Combine. That’s very important, and we plan on getting something done prior to making that selection.”

Mayhew said the list of candidates has “narrowed down pretty dramatically.” But he declined to name the candidates or discuss specifics.

The Lions have been talking to the agents for Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, Baylor left tackle Jason Smith and Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.

Negotiations are more complex this year because of new rules relating to the last year of the salary cap. The Lions started preliminary negotiations with candidates in March.

Mayhew said the Lions could agree to the parameters of a deal with multiple players, but ultimately, they would agree to a deal with one player. He said they would make an announcement shortly after agreeing to terms.

This is nothing new – the Lions have said all along that they wanted to sign the No. 1 pick before the draft. But what is getting ever more interesting is the fact that this pick remains as much of a financial decision as it does drafting the right player. And if this is a financial decision for the Lions, then Aaron Curry should be their pick.

Curry is the best prospect in the draft, he would be cheaper than Stafford or Smith and he fills a need for Detroit. The only drawback in taking him No. 1 (besides the massive need at quarterback), is the fact that the Lions already have a decent amount of money wrapped up in their linebacker corps already, with former top 10 pick Ernie Sims and newly acquired Julian Peterson on the roster. Plus, even though scouts believe he can play inside, would Curry’s best position be at middle linebacker? Because that’s where he would play for the Lions.

But again, if the Lions are really putting a lot of stock into the financial hit that they’re about to take then Curry should be their guy.

Seahawks trade Julian Peterson to Lions for Cory Redding

The Seahawks traded linebacker Julian Peterson to the Lions for defensive tackle Cory Redding and a fifth round pick according to FOX Sports.com.

The deal raises questions about Detroit’s draft-day plans. The Lions hold the top overall pick and Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry had been suggested as a candidate for that spot.

The Seahawks gave Peterson a $54 million, seven-year contract three years ago after their Super Bowl appearance in Detroit. Peterson became an expensive asset because linebacker Leroy Hill got $8.4 million guaranteed this year with a franchise tag and Lofa Tatupu signed a $42 million contract a year ago.

Peterson will team up with Ernie Sims and give the Lions a solid outside linebacker duo. They still need to find a middle linebacker, however, and now address the hole they’ve created on their defensive line after trading Redding.

As the article suggests, this move probably means that Curry won’t be the top pick. Unless there’s a sleeper candidate out there (B.J. Raji?), the Lions will probably choose between Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford and Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith.

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